A while ago, I went on a hot dog tour of Chicago. Really, it was the Hot Dog Tour of Chicago, because a one-day, eight-dog tour is really quite enough for any one girl (and friends). I skipped class to go on my tour. That’s how dedicated I was on my quest to uncover the best of Chicago between an oblong bun. Yes, it was trying. It was painful, saucy, at times bacon-wrapped, and there were moments when I myself felt quite like a stuffed sausage. At one point I felt like bursting, spilling a days work of hot dogs, fries, and fried pickles everywhere. But I kept it in, for the most part because hots dogs look way better pre-consumption.
The result of that hard day last fall? Two jewels of the Chicago hot-dog scene, both with unique offerings. Hot Doug’s, with their crayfish sausage, duck-fat fried fries, and wonderfully balanced cheese, sauce, and sausage pairings, is for the sausage purist. The sausage, and they run from traditional to gourmet at Hot Doug’s, is king. Relatively nearby however is a place where sausage is king, but the rest of court is just as loved. Franks ‘n’ Dawgs is the place to find ‘five-star dining, on a bun.’ (Their pun. Punny.)
I’ve been back since, many times. I apologize for the picture quality, but I couldn’t be bothered with composition and lighting, those little things, when there was food on the table. It’s that good. What you see is the Roaring Buffalo Chicken, truffle chicken sausage, celery root slaw, blue cheese, and house-made hot sauce, and the Southerner, pork loin and caramelized onions sausage, corn bread, cherry bourbon BBQ sauce, and scallions.
If you’re in Chicago, or even the Chicago-area, go. Get a dawg. And the brussels sprouts salad and the triple truffle fries. Heads up, it’s byob, and there’s a Binny’s on the other side of the block.